Eco Tourism of the Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies is a destination where adventure and wilderness beckons, and for those dedicated to going easier on the planet, non-motorized activities are abundant and engaging. Adventure choices here range from gentle and relaxing, all the way across the excitement spectrum to heart-pounding adrenaline rush.
"We were not pioneers ourselves, but we journeyed over old trails that were new to us, and with hearts open. Who shall distinguish?"
Dr. J. Munroe Thorington
There are so many trails (and so little time!) ranging from valley bottom lakeside strolls to rock-strewn climbs to glacial tarns and chairlifts into subalpine meadows, bursting with summer wildflowers. Kiss the sky at the Jasper Tramway, stroll the boardwalks and greet the alpine wildlife inhabitants.
The lakes of the Rockies offer exceptional paddling opportunities, and canoeing and kayaking is a great way to get out on the water, soak in the fresh air and solitude and see wildlife. Take it easy at Lake Louise, Lac Beauvert and Maligne Lake near Jasper, Vermilion Lakes near Banff, and dip your paddles into rivers so blue they seem unreal. If you prefer a faster pace, there's plenty of whitewater rafting to be found.
Avid mountain bikers flock to Golden for freeriding and downhilling on some of the best biking terrain in North America. Cyclists can find terrific road and trail rides in Banff, Jasper, the Bow Valley and Kananaskis Country. Mountain biking trails are abundant, and there are a range of day trips from easy to moderate and difficult. Canmore is a mountain biker's paradise with a vast trail network and multi-used paved and groom trail system on the valley floor.
Take your binoculars on a birdwatching expedition. The region is home to more than 260 species of birds, and popular spots to see them include the Cave and Basin Marsh near Banff and the lakes in the Athabasca Valley near Jasper. Near Golden, Burges and James Gadsden Provincial Park and Moberly Marshes are part of the Columbia River Wetlands that make up the longest continuous remaining wetlands in North America.
Several local ecologically-attuned tour operators offer interpretive guided walks to enjoy the views and sounds of nature. Get tall in the saddle with a horseback riding tour. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular ways to experience nature while going easy on the delicate ecosystems of this precious place.